Copper 3D Printing: Innovating with Precision and Versatility


At Prima Additive, we are pioneering the integration of advanced laser technologies in metal additive manufacturing (AM). These technologies have revolutionized how industries approach component fabrication, especially when utilizing materials known for their outstanding thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper, along with its alloys, has always been a preferred material in various sectors due to its excellent malleability, ductility, and high conductivity properties. Its versatility extends across numerous applications, ranging from electrical components to heat exchangers, showcasing its vital role in modern manufacturing. Our innovative approach is based on the use of green and blue lasers to produce components with densities above 99%.

Copper 3D Printing offers an unparalleled advantage in creating intricate and complex geometries with high precision. This capability is particularly beneficial for customizing parts that require detailed configurations, which would be challenging or impossible to achieve through traditional manufacturing methods. The intricacy achievable with additive manufacturing of copper alloys is not just about aesthetic finesse; it allows for the optimization of the functional aspects of components, be it in enhancing conductivity or improving overall design efficiency.

Copper 3d printing

The potential of processing copper in the additive manufacturing landscape holds great opportunities. At the same time, working with copper in 3D printing poses unique challenges. The high material reflectivity and thermal conductivity of copper make it a challenging material to work with, especially when employing laser-based technologies. Traditional laser systems often struggle with these properties, leading to inefficiencies in the melting and fusion processes. This is where our expertise at Prima Additive comes into play. We have embraced these challenges, innovating and developing cutting-edge systems capable of performing Copper Additive Manufacturing with blue or green lasers. These specialized lasers effectively overcome the hurdles posed by copper’s properties, ensuring precise and efficient additive manufacturing for pure copper and commonly used copper alloys.

Direct Energy Deposition for Aerospace: Multi-Material Components with Copper Alloys

One of the possibilities we offer for processing copper or its alloys is Direct Energy Deposition (DED) technology, where we suggest the use of the blue laser for optimal results. DED technology is a standout in the AM domain, characterized by its ability to create components from more than one material in a single manufacturing process. For aerospace applications, this means combining the unmatched thermal properties of copper or its alloys with other metals that provide structural integrity or other desired properties. This hybrid approach can lead to the development of components such as heat exchangers, where copper’s thermal conductivity it can be used to improve performance while being structurally supported by more robust materials such as titanium or steel or in combination with Inconel, a nickel alloy particularly used in the aerospace sector for its resistance to high temperatures.

Multi-material DED

In conclusion, additive manufacturing of copper alloys represents a significant leap forward in the field of metal fabrication. This technology offers a mix of precision, versatility, and customization, making it an indispensable tool for modern industries. As we continue to explore and expand the capabilities of copper 3D printing, Prima Additive remains dedicated to offering solutions that are not just technologically advanced but also aligned with the unique needs of our clients, ensuring that every project we undertake is a step towards the future of manufacturing excellence.

Green Laser Technology in LPBF

Our LPBF systems equipped with green lasers effectively tackle the high reflectivity issue commonly associated with copper. Green lasers, operating at a wavelength of 532 nm, provide significant advantages over conventional infrared lasers, which often struggle with the high reflectivity of copper. While infrared lasers typically operate at higher power levels (around 1 kW or more) to process copper, green lasers can achieve exceptional results with a much lower power output (around 200 W). This not only leads to energy efficiency but also enhances the quality and repeatability of the manufactured parts.

One of the primary benefits of using a green laser in the processing of pure copper is its higher absorptivity. This characteristic allows for deeper laser penetration and more stable melting conditions, resulting in material densities often exceeding 99.8%. Such densities are critical for producing components that are not only reliable but also excel in their performance, especially in sectors that demand high electrical and thermal conductivity, like electronics and aerospace.

Copper inductor in additive manufacturing

Moreover, the use of green lasers in additive manufacturing contributes to improved surface quality and mechanical properties, essential for creating complex geometries and intricate designs that are often required in advanced engineering applications. The technology also supports the production of parts with better dimensional accuracy and lower porosity, further enhancing their functional capabilities.

Prima Additive’s choice to utilize a 200W green laser over a more powerful infrared counterpart sets new standards in the production of high-quality, efficient components. This strategic decision also underscores our commitment to pioneering solutions that meet the evolving needs of modern industries.


Green laser 3d printing copper

Revolutionizing Industry Applications

The implications of these advanced manufacturing techniques are profound and far-reaching across multiple industries:

  • Aerospace: High-density copper alloys are used to manufacture critical components such as electrical conductors and heat exchangers. These components contribute significantly to the overall efficiency and safety of aircraft systems.
  • Automotive: In the automotive sector, our copper components ensure reliability and endurance in electrical systems, particularly in electric vehicles where efficient heat dissipation and electrical conductivity are paramount.
  • Electronics: The superior thermal and electrical conductivity of our copper alloys makes them ideal for electronic applications, including heat sinks and conductor tracks in high-performance computing systems.
Blue laser printing copper

Sustainability at the Core

Prima Additive is committed to sustainability. The precision of green and blue laser technologies not only enhances component quality but also significantly reduces waste and energy consumption during the manufacturing process. This commitment to eco-friendly practices is integral to our business ethos and is reflected in every innovation we bring to the market.

Innovating Industries with Copper Alloys: Prima Additive's Tailored Solutions

Prima Additive aims to stand as a leader in the field of additive manufacturing and for this reason, as we said before, has developed state-of-the-art 3D laser printing machines designed to work with copper alloys effectively, opening up new possibilities in various industrial sectors. To address the challenges presented by copper’s high reflectivity and thermal conductivity, we offer machines equipped with green and blue lasers.

Copper good to grow

Our goal is to always offer our customers the best solution for their needs. Our choice is therefore to offer machine platforms that are customizable from the point of view of the choice of lasers. If as a general principle we can state that the green or blue laser can be used to process highly reflective alloys and the infrared laser is suitable for processing more conventional alloys, we also know that the needs are not always those of processing one material at a time and above all, they can change over time. For this reason, our solutions can be configured according to need: it is therefore possible to have Powder Bed Fusion solutions like our 300 Family equipped with 1, 2 or 4 lasers which can be infrared, green or in a double wavelength configuration, incorporating infrared lasers and green lasers in the same system. The same goes for direct energy deposition solutions such as our IANUS robotic cell, which can be equipped with infrared lasers from 1 to 22 kW or blue lasers from 800 W to 4kW, but also with an IR and a blue laser source in the same system for maximum flexibility on all materials.

We invite businesses interested in exploring the potential of Copper 3D Printing to contact us. Our team is ready to provide information and evaluate possible collaborations, leveraging our expertise to help businesses harness the benefits of copper additive manufacturing. Reach out to us and let's explore how we can work together to innovate and enhance your manufacturing processes.

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